NC State Extension

2001 Cultivar Trials

2001 ASCFG National Cut Flower Trials

John Dole
North Carolina State University

Overview:

Each winter I eagerly review the list of cultivars to be trialed and wonder which ones will be the winners. Sometimes I guess right and sometimes I guess wrong. I had high hopes for the Asclepia Silky series from Kieft based on the fact that ‘Silky Gold’ did will in the trials when it was first released. Well the other two cultivars, ‘Silky Deep Red’ and ‘Silky Scarlet’, have turned out to be excellent additions to the series. Both cultivars are similar to the original species with bright red outer floral parts and yellow-gold inner parts. The two cultivars can be difficult to tell apart but ‘Deep Red’ appears to be a little darker/more colorful than ‘Scarlet’. All three cultivars are uniform, productive and tall. These plants love hot weather and do best when planted after the soil is warm. As with all good things, there are some problems. The sap can be irritating to some people – be especially careful to not get it in your eyes. Plants are particularly attractive to aphids and postharvest wilting can be a problem. One trialer noted that while stems wilt after being first cut, they will rehydrate and can be marketed after being recut a second time. Another grower recommended cutting early in the morning and using a hydrating solution.

Pan American’s Dianthus ‘Bouquet Purple’ made many bouquet makers happy. This prolific flower producer is quick to flower from seed and very productive. If you get behind on the harvesting, it may be easiest to cut back the plants and allow fresh, new stems to emerge. Plants continue to flower all season long and tolerate heat well – definitely a plus in the south. Flower heads are smaller and looser than sweet William-type dianthus and lightly scented. Insufficient height was a problem for some trialers but others got 24-inch stems. Plants are cold tolerant and still flowering in our trial plots as I write this in mid December. We look forward to seeing what they will look like next season.

Sakata had one entry in the trial program and it did well. Gomphrena ‘All Around Purple’ has all of the good qualities of gomphrena – high productivity and heat tolerance. A couple respondents noted that ‘All Around Purple’ has larger flowers and longer stems than similar dark purple gomphrenas.

American Takii has introduced a whole new line of cut flowers including annual asters, delphinium, godetia, sunflower, linaria, and stock. Of those species the Delphinium ‘Aurora Blue’ and‘Lavender’ garnered the best results. Both cultivars flowered rapidly from seed and tolerated heat well. Most delphiniums do not perform well in the first year from seed; however, ‘Aurora’ produced moderately tall stems that scored well with customers. Also notable was the Linaria Lace series. These prolific producers perform best in cool climates and melt out in the heat. The spikes of small snapdragon-like flowers work best as filler flowers, especially in direct retail markets.

The Eustoma Balboa series from Pan American performed well in the trials. Trialers noted their high bud count and beautiful colors. Eustomas are a favorite with customers as evidenced by the high marketing ratings.

Sunflowers are a mainstay of the field cut industry and Gloeckner included several great varieties this year. ‘Earthwalker’ and ‘Orange Mahogany’ were both uniform and vigorous with medium-size heads. ‘Earthwalker’ is a mixture of solid-colored flowers ranging from dark orange to dark bronze; all have dark disks. ‘Orange Mahogany’ is a yellow and bronze bicolor with the bronze around a dark brown disk. Benary has become well known for its series of Lobelia cultivars. The latest one to be tested, Lobelia ‘Fan Burgundy’, received compliments on its color and scored well when sold directly to consumers. For best results start plants early in the season. ‘Burgundy’ combines well with the other colors in the series. Changes, changes, changes – we are always making changes to the trial report. This year we included the range of responses in the tables to give you an idea of what individual trialers reported for each cultivar.

We thought the additional information would allow you to better interpret the tables. In addition, we added the amount of space (inches2) that people gave each plant.

Based on trial results, the top five performers are automatically nominated for the ASCFG Cut Flower of the Year competition. The rankings are based on the combined ratings score: market appreciation (average of wholesale, florist, and consumer) + repeat again + ease of cultivation for those cultivars where more than two trialers responded. Thus, from the 2001 trials Asclepias ‘Silky Deep Red’, Delphinium ‘Aurora Blue’, Dianthus ‘Bouquet Purple’, Eustoma ‘Balboa Blue Blush’ and Gomphrena ‘All Around Purple’ are nominated as Cut Flowers of the Year and will join other nominations from ASCFG members and from the Cut Flower of the Year Panel. Experimental varieties are eligible for nomination if they are named and released.

Disclaimer:

The numbers reported are averages of all the respondents and many factors will affect the success of any plant species. Our participants are growing and harvesting the trial plants in a wide variety of ways. For example, with annual asters some people harvest the entire plant as one bunch while others harvest each individual flowering branch, giving very different lengths and yield data. If a plant does well for most of the respondents, it is likely to do well for you. On the other hand, if a cultivar didn’t appear to do well in the trial, it may still be a great cultivar for you. Thus, we have included summaries of the respondents’ comments to help interpret the data. Review the trial results carefully. If a species sounds interesting but did not appear to do well, try it anyway. The cultivar may work well for you.

Acknowledgments:

A hearty thank you to all of the evaluators who returned their trial reports and to the seed companies for providing such great cultivars. I would also like to thank Betty Coleman for laboriously typing in everyone’s comments, Ingram McCall for data analysis and for taking care of the North Carolina State University portion of the trials and Diane Mays, Lane Greer, and Megan Weddington for assisting with the NCSU trials. In preparing the report I have edited the participants’ comments for space and clarity; my apologies if I’ve altered the tone or content of anyone’s comments. Thanks to everyone for making this service of ASCFG possible.

2001 ASCFG National Perennial Trials

John Dole
North Carolina State University

Overview:

While we evaluate perennials for two years, it is always nice to have the plants produce harvestable stems in the first year. Eupatorium candidum and Penstemon digitalis ‘Glacier’ both flowered well this summer. Eupatorium candidum established quickly and produced stems up to 3 feet long topped with interestingly-colored silvery pink flower clusters. The flowers scored well with customers as shown by the great marketing rates. Another Eupatorium from the year 2000 trials, E. maculatum ‘Carin’, also performed well. This tall plant produced stems averaging 51 inches long with large clusters of reddish purple fuzzy flowers on dark purple stems. Eupatoriums are durable plants and many are typically very tall and vigorous.Eupatorium candidum is thought to be a more manageable size, reaching only 3 – 4 feet when mature.

Two outstanding plants from the 2000 plantings included Helenium kanaria and Phlox paniculata ‘Purple Haze’Helenium kanaria was tall, producing an average of 46-inch stems and heavily branched. Plants should be netted or otherwise supported for best results. The clear yellow flowers have excellent vase life but may shed pollen. ‘Purple Haze’ was noted last year for its lack of powdery mildew. This year respondents liked the large flower heads, good postharvest life and long 35 inch stems. Color is always in the eye of the beholder; a couple trialer liked the color, while others thought it appeared washed out. Of course, the customers always make the final decisions on cultivars.

This year we included the range of responses in the tables to give you an idea of what individual trialers reported for each cultivar. We thought the additional information would allow you to better interpret the tables.

Based on trial results, the top five performers are automatically nominated for the ASCFG Cut Flower of the Year competition. The rankings are based on the combined ratings score: market appreciation (average of wholesale, florist, and consumer) + repeat again + ease of cultivation for those cultivars where more than two trialers responded. Thus, from the 2001 trialsEupatorium candidumEupatorium maculatum ‘Carin’Helenium kanaria, Penstemon digitalis ‘Glacier’ and Phlox paniculata ‘Purple Haze’ are nominated as Cut Flowers of the Year and will join other nominations from ASCFG members and from the Cut Flower of the Year Panel. Experimental varieties are eligible for nomination if they are named and released.

Disclaimer:

The numbers reported are averages of all the respondents and many factors will affect the success of any plant species. Our participants are growing and harvesting the trial plants in a wide variety of ways. For example, with annual asters some people harvest the entire plant as one bunch while others harvest each individual flowering branch, giving very different lengths and yield data. If a plant does well for most of the respondents, it is likely to do well for you. On the other hand, if a cultivar didn’t appear to do well in the trial, it may still be a great cultivar for you. Thus, we have included summaries of the respondents comments to help interpret the data. Review the trial results carefully. If a species sounds interesting but did not appear to do well, try it anyway. The cultivar may work well for you.

Acknowledgments:

All cut flower growers should thank the perennial producers for providing the plant materials and the growers for producing the plants, collecting data and submitting trial reports. Each of the growers paid $100 for shipping expenses and agreed to provide data for at least two years. Plant were donated by five perennial producers and shipped the perennial plugs or dormant roots directly to the trialers. I would especially like to compliment Betsy Hitt and Vicki Stamback who participated in both the seed and perennials trials and returned evaluations on all of their trial plants. I would also like to thank Betty Coleman for typing in everyone’s comments, Ingram McCall for data analysis and for taking care of the North Carolina State University portion of the trials, and Diane Mays, Lane Greer, and Megan Weddington for assisting with the NCSU trials. In preparing the report I have edited the participants’ comments for space and clarity; my apologies if I’ve altered the tone or content of anyone’s comments. Thanks to everyone for making this service of ASCFG possible.

Cultivars

Seed Companies

Participating Seed Companies – Annual Trials, 2001

American Takii

301 Natividad Rd.
Salinas, CA 93906
www.takii.com

Benary Seed

1444 Larson St.
Sycamore, IL 60178
www.benary.com

Fred C. Gloeckner

600 Mamaroneck Ave.
Harrison, NY 10528-1613
www.fredgloeckner.com

Kieft Seed

P.O. Box 618
Conway, WA 98238
www.kieftseed.com

PanAmerican Seed

P.O. Box 438
West Chicago, IL 60186
www.panamseed.com

Sakata Seed America

18095 Serene Drive
Morgan Hill, CA 95037
www.sakata.com

Participating Seed Companies – Perennials, 2001

Cramers’ Posie Patch (CR)

116 Trial Rd. N.
Elizabethtown, PA 17022
717-367-9494
FAX 717-367-8666

Here & Now Gardens (HN)

P.O. Box 6
Gales Creek, OR 97117
503-357-5774
FAX 503-357-3858

Green Leaf Enterprises/Benary (GL)

17 West Main St.
Leola, PA 17540
800-233-0285
FAX 717-656-0465

North Creek Nursery (NC)

388 North Creek Rd.
Landenberg, PA 19350
610-255-0100
FAX 610-255-4762

Grow & Sell (GS)

320 Lower State Rd.
Chalfont, PA 18914
215-822-1276
FAX 215-997-1770

Participating Growers – Annual Trials, 2001

Leah Aufill
Bloomin Botanicals
Stillwater OK

Douglas and Gloria Austin
Austin Gardens
Flushing MI

Phil and Dorothy Bartlett
Bartlett’s Ocean View Farm
Nantucket MA

Christof Bernau
University of California
Santa Cruz, CA 95064

Leon Carrier
Plant Masters
Gaithersburg MD

James Comes
Alfred State College
Alfred, NY

Connie Dam-Byl
William Dam Seed, Ltd.
Dundas Ontario

Janet Foss
J. Foss Garden Flowers
Everett, WA

Morgan Maskewitz
Flinthill Flower Farm
Buckeystown, MD

Matt Gerald
Sweet Pea’s Farm Store
Bar Harbor, ME

Chas and Linda Gill
Kennebec Flower Farm and Nursery
Bowdoinham ME

Jeff Hartenfeld
Hart Farm
Solsberry IN

Chazz Hesselein
Alabama Cooperative Extension
Mobile, AL

Betsy Hitt
Peregrine Farms
Graham NC

Cathy Jones
Perry-Winkle Farm
Chapel Hill NC

Phillip Katz
PanAmerican Seed
Santa Paula CA

Judy Low
Molino Creek Farm
Davenport CA

Ingram McCall/John Dole
North Carolina State University
Raleigh, NC

Ruth Moore
Heritage Farm
Middlebourne, WV

Jim Nau
Ball Seed Company
West Chicago, IL

Becky Norton
The North Carolina Arboretum
Asheville, NC

Carolyn Ramsbotham
Riverview Farm
Madbury NH

Vicki Stamback
Bear Creek Farms
Stillwater OK

Jeanne Vana
Market Garden of Hawaii
Waialua, HI

Cheryl Wagner
Wagner’s Homestead Farms
Belleville MI

Kim Wickwire
Olds College
Olds Alberta

Tom Wickstrom
Happy Trowels Farm
Ogden, UT

Lulu Wootton
Cape Farm
Marlboro VT

Participating Growers – Perennial Trials, 2001

Region 2 (2001)
Bob Wollam
Wollam Gardens
Jeffersonton, VA

Region 3 (2000 and 2001)
Betsy Hitt
Peregrine Farms
Graham NC

Region 5 (2000 and 2001)
Christina Wager
Christie=s Plantmart and Greenhouse
Coronation Alberta

Region 6 (2000 and 2001)
Vicki Stamback
Bear Creek Farm
Stillwater, OK

Region 7 (2001)
Steve Popp
Jim Rider Flowers
Watsonville, CA

Region 8  (2000 and 2001)
Sam Barkley
Barkley’s Woodstock Floral
Portland, OR

Region 8 (2000 and 2001)
Paul Sansone
Here and Now Garden
Gales Creek, OR

Ingram McCall/John Dole  (2001)
North Carolina State University
Raleigh, NC

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